Quickies: Aid to Texas, pictures from Mars, and more

It’s the start of a new week, but I’m still reeling over the devastation in Texas. If you’d like to help, check out this list of mutual aid organizations and another city-by-city list of resources.

This isn’t necessarily news, but NPR recently put up a directory of where you can get all the info about COVID vaccine distribution in your state.

Perseverance landed successfully on Mars! Don’t be fooled by fake images and video that are circulating. Get the real deal at NASA. Those of you who watched the landing are probably familiar with the faces of Dr. Swati Mohan and MiMi Aung, so be sure to read up on these awesome women. Also of note is engineer Aaron Yazzie who received special recognition from the Navajo Nation.

Need to update your reading list? Check out the 11 Black Authors Who Were Some of The OG Pioneers of Sci-Fi/Fantasy at the Mary Sue. One that took me by surprise? W.E.B. Dubois!

Oh look, it’s yet more evidence that there is no difference between men and women when it comes to science. This study specifically looked at exam grades of 10,000 introductory physics students. This one comes in via one of my physics colleagues, Alexander!

Speaking of colleagues, my friend Ian is a co-author of an opinion piece in Scientific American arguing that physicists really need to ditch the term “quantum supremacy” with all its racist baggage.

And finally, via Stephen, a little game where you get to determine whether each animal is a bastard or not a bastard! Spoiler alert: everyone is a bit of a bastard.


Nicole is a professor, astronomer, educator, geek, dog mom, occasional fitness nerd, and maker of tiny comets. She is also very loud under the right circumstances. Like what you read? Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/noisyastronomer

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One Comment

  1. I hadn’t heard the term “quantum supremacy,” but I agree that the term sounds wildly inappropriate in a physics context. To my mind, the inappropriateness goes beyond the association of the word with racism and imperialism.

    “Supremacy” basically means dominating and defeating others by literal or figurative force, and only really makes sense in the context of war (again, literal or figurative.) I’m fairly certain that “quantum computing” has no ambitions of dominating anyone, or indeed, ambitions of any type, nor is it clear that quantum computing will automatically replace conventional computing in all applications, anyway. So why would you use a word that suggests that there’s some kind of battle between the two? Except that we live in a society which tends to frame almost any interaction as a conflict with winners and losers.

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